The Dallas Cowboys had a rough 2020 season. One of their best players, Ezekiel Elliott, had his worst campaign as a professional. He rushed for a career-low 979 yards while tying a career-high with six fumbles. Also, he tied his lowest rushing touchdown total of six and his 4.0 yards per carry was the worst he's had since entering the NFL in 2016.
This caused many to criticize Elliott and question his worth to the Cowboys' offense. The two-time rushing champion agrees with the harsh words about his performance last season which he expressed earlier in the week.
“This year, a lot of it’s about my body, a lot of it was just making sure that you know, I was ready to come and make up for my s*** show last year,” Elliott said.
Elliott used the offseason to get into the best shape of his career while also going through an intense training regimen with Josh Hicks, a trainer and running backs guru in the Dallas area. It's paid off greatly in the first five games of this season as Elliott is currently third in the NFL with 452 rushing yards and he's tied for second with five rushing touchdowns. Also, his 5.3 yards per carry so far in 2021 is a career-best for the former Ohio State Buckeye.
A lot of Elliott's success has to be attributed to Tyron Smith and Zack Martin being back after missing 20 games combined a season ago. Dak Prescott's return from a brutal ankle injury has helped as well because defenses have to respect his ability to throw the football which opens up the running game.
Elliott has to be given the biggest kudos though. While the running back position is a dependent one, Elliott looks quicker and more agile than he has in a long time and it's due to his unwavering dedication to having a bounce-back season in year six.
“I just think that every year you gotta develop as a player, as a person, as a leader, as a teammate, as a boyfriend, a brother, everything,” Elliott said. “So, every year, you gotta get better. So, if I’m just staying the same from the last year, then I’m not doing my job.”
The Cowboys bell-cow runner is on pace this season for 1,537 rushing yards which would be the second-most of his career and 17 rushing touchdowns which would per a personal best. Elliott is proving that his 2020 season was a mere bump in the road and that he's still one of the best running backs in the NFL.